The two-day Outdoor Advertising Convention (OAC) 2008 was held in Mumbai on June 27-28. Jaqui Kean, Global Brand Communications Director, The Economist, kicked off the Convention with the view that outdoor as a medium was usually a lead medium and offered high-impact exposure and great creative opportunities.
She held forth on the success that The Economist had had with its global outdoor campaigns across the world. “Today, The Economist is one of the most widely recognised global media brands with a singular irreverent tone and a range of social and political coverage that belies its title. It has doubled circulation in a decade, now selling 1.3 million copies in 206 countries every week and is read by 3.7 million people around the world. Key to that success has been a consistent integrated marketing strategy and a recognition that long term success comes from promoting the value of the brand rather than weekly ‘circulation-driving’ content.”
She further said, “The global media plan, planned and executed regionally, is built around ‘target-rich’ cities or regions and the brand’s global presence can be seen in ‘Economist cities’ around the world. Media selection is based on effective channel mix and usually includes high impact outdoor sites in locations where our audience cluster, running at a heavy weight and burst to maximise coverage and frequency.”
Giving the Government’s view on how it can work in sync with media owners in Mumbai, RA Rajiv, Additional Municipal Commissioner, Greater Mumbai, painted a black and white picture of the rules and regulations. On creating a successful partnership with the outdoor media in Mumbai, he observed that self regulation was the best regulation, but it did not happen because of various factors such as revenue stealing, lack of aesthetic maintenance, cluttering of skyline, violation of the local rules regarding felling trees, heritage buildings, and unfair practices affecting lives and property of the citizens. As a result, BMC was currently earning revenues of just Rs 30 crore annually, against an expected Rs 180 crore.
Clarifying his take on the outdoor industry, Rajiv said, “The BMC is not against the industry, in fact, it is working closely with the Outdoor Association and the citizens of India so that the end result can be a win-win situation.”
Going further, Sunder Hemrajani, Managing Director, Times Innovative Media Ltd, stressed on how innovation could play a role in the most ideal way. Speaking on the topic ‘Role of Innovation in Out-of-home - The ideal way’, he said, “By thoroughly mapping the consumer, a company can discover opportunities for breakthrough products and services to share with brand, media owner and agency, which is why a more holistic approach is need or else approaching innovation piece meal will bring piece meal result.”
Nancy Fletcher, President & CEO, Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), addressed the outdoor fraternity via a recorded presentation on ‘Effecting growth, regulation and unity - OAAA and the US Outdoor Advertising Industry’, where she spoke about the formation and functioning of the OAAA. She said, “Outdoor advertising has been doing well in the US. The revenue earned in 2007 was $3 billion, which is a 7 per cent increase over the previous year. The country has around 45,000 billboards and an equal number of other outdoor formats. There are four main outdoor mediums in the US – billboards, street furniture, transit and alternative. Roadside billboards account for 66 per cent of the revenue, alternative or ambient media accounts for 16 per cent, transit accounts for 11 per cent, and street furniture 7 per cent.”
She further said, “The OAAA’s mission is to protect, promote, and advance the outdoor advertising industry in the US. It protects the industry by serving as its legislative advocate for federal, state, and local lobbying. They are also involved in legislative and local research.”
Yasmeen Rashid Bhat, Executive Manager, MAKS Media Group, Dubai, spoke on ‘The creative possibilities of creating maximum impact with fleet graphics’. She pointed out how fleet graphic had become a synonym for true creative media. “Simplicity pays off, while complexity might not attract the masses,” she added.
Sharing his thoughts on ‘Advertise less to reach more’, Mukesh Manik, MIC, EncycloMedia Networks Pvt Ltd, said, “Good breakthrough advertising has a moment of pure magic to it. It finds a way to engage the target consumer. One key to doing this is by capturing the three-second concentration span of a consumer, leaving him with a brand image and recall, which then aids in selling the product.”
According to him, “All that a client is paying for is a space in the mind of the consumer, a brand recall, what the consumer remembers before making that purchase decision. A high impact creative is what sets out to achieve that recall.”
Mark Neely, Regional Director- Research Asia/ Pacific, Nielsen Media Research, Australia, said, “Nielsen has been engaged in researching GPS as a means for OOH measurement for several years now. GPS is a quantifiable and usable technique and has already been tested in Chicago, LA, Australia and South Africa.”
“However, in order to use GPS, one needs to have a good infrastructure in place, in the sense that one needs to have a complete inventory of all the billboards and outdoor assets of a city, and map it out,” he pointed out.
Apurva Purohit, President, Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI), and CEO, Radio City, came up with an interesting comparison between radio and outdoor, wherein she said, “FM radio and outdoor advertising have a lot more in common than what actually meets eye. Both radio and outdoor today are the only media that straddle across traditional (print, TV) and new age media (Internet, digital) and are equally impactful when used with either basket.”
She further said, “Both radio and outdoor are increasing in relevance as a New India starts accepting newer forms of communication and moves out of home, yet both remain extremely effective media vehicles as localised frequency boosters in the traditional basket of advertisers. Because of this straddling, both will see higher than industry average rates of growth.”
Wrapping up the Day One proceedings, Piyush Pandey, Exceutive Chairman & National Creative Director- India & South Asia, O&M, spoke on ‘Delivering engagement with outdoor creative’. He pointed out that there were umpteen OOH mediums that were beyond measurement and ROI, and used several examples to emphasise that outdoor was “a memorable medium rather than a reminder medium”.